There’s a number of steps that your leads need to work through before they can feel confident in moving forward with your product.
These include buying into your unique value props, accepting the terms of engaging with your business, and gathering internal support for making the investment.
Given all these steps, it’s little surprise that your leads’ journeys may last weeks, if not several months. In the case of B2B organizations, for example, leads can take as long as 12 months to close.
Fortunately, there are tactical measures you can take to ensure your lead lifecycle is short and that it converts at high rates each step of the way. We’ll review what these steps can look like, but before we do, let’s align on the various stages that make up the cycle.
Lead lifecycle overview
A lead lifecycle is the end-to-end journey a lead takes at your organization—from becoming a lead to converting into a customer.
Though the lead lifecycle stages can vary depending on the industry you’re in, the size of your organization, among other factors, it generally works as follows:
1. A new lead enters your pipeline. This can result from certain marketing activities, like a prospect filling out a form to access a gated piece of content, or sales-specific activities, like a lead requesting a demo.
2. A sales development rep attempts to reach the lead. Assuming the rep is able to connect, they’ll use the time to try to get a better sense of whether the lead is the right fit for your product. If the lead is a good match and they’re interested in continuing the conversation, they’ll become a sales qualified lead (SQL).
3. An account executive engages in business discovery with the lead. This might include walking the lead through a demo and discussing their specific use cases for your product. If this goes well, the AE turns the lead into an opportunity in your customer relationship management (CRM) platform.
4. The lead converts into a customer. This usually happens after multiple discussions— perhaps with several stakeholders at the lead’s organization—take place and go smoothly. These conversations can cover a range of topics, such as pricing and data security.
Related: How to improve your speed to lead
With these steps in mind, let’s walk through 4 automations that can help optimize your lead lifecycle.
1. Reach former buyers at the most opportune moment
To boost the performance of the first stage in your lead lifecycle (i.e. a new lead entering your pipeline), you can engage with your former buyers when they get another job.
Why is this effective? Because they want to make a positive first impression on their employer, and the tools that helped them be successful in their previous role (like yours) can help them carry out this ambition.
Here’s how automation can help your team identify previous buyers the moment they switch jobs via a business communications platform, like Slack.
1. Once a former buyer changes jobs in your CRM, the workflow gets triggered.
2. An enterprise chatbot messages the appropriate channel in the business communications platform. Within the message, channel members can find the previous buyer’s old role, their new role, and a link to the opportunity page from their previous employer.
3. A channel member can click a button in the message that instantly adds the lead to a specific nurture sequence catered to previous buyers.
2. Route leads intelligently and in real time
Once you’ve received a lead, the next challenge lies in following-up with them quickly. As we learned through our own research, this task can be difficult: Less than 1% of organizations email or call an inbound lead within the first 5 minutes.
Here’s how automated lead routing can help fast-track your organization’s time to response.
1. Once a lead comes in, Lead Bot (an enterprise chatbot) determines the rep that receives it by taking into account factors like the rep’s location and their availability (this is done in real time).
2. Lead Bot messages the rep in a business communications platform, sharing critical lead information, like the lead’s name, company, message (if they left one), links to internal pages, and enriched insights sourced by a platform like Clearbit.
3. The rep can accept, reject, or reassign the lead with a click of a button, within the business communications platform.
3. Streamline internal approvals
Internal approvals are an unavoidable part of selling, whether it’s getting a quote approved by a manager or having legal sign off on any redlines in the agreement.
You can minimize the time it takes your reps to make requests and to get them approved by stakeholders with automation. Here’s how in the context of approving a prospect’s redlines:
1. Once a sales rep creates a deal desk request in the CRM for a specific opportunity, the workflow gets triggered.
2. A message gets posted to the appropriate channel in a business communications platform that shares information on the request and the opportunity.
3. The assigned approver can reject or accept the request with the click of a button in the business communications platform.
4. Help AEs and SDRs improve quickly
Even when your lead routing process operates smoothly and you’ve streamlined internal approvals, your sales motion’s efficacy requires a high-performing team.
You can help your colleagues in sales identify areas of improvement on time by using automation to share call recordings with them. In the process, they’ll get a better idea of how to engage each of their prospects moving forward.
1. Once the call ends, the workflow gets triggered.
2. The call recording gets added to a platform like Box and to the appropriate opportunity page in a CRM.
3. An enterprise chatbot messages the sales rep—via a business communications platform— the link to their call recording.
Use Workbot to automate any lead lifecycle workflow
Workbot, an enterprise chatbot, can communicate between your business communications platform and the rest of the platforms your colleagues rely on to automate any workflow end-to-end.
You can learn more about Workbot and Workato, the leader in integration-led automation, by scheduling a demo with one of our automation experts!